Study Abroad Graduate Programs


Study Abroad in Nepal

Namaste. It was a Nepalese greeting. It meant: The light within me bows to the light within you. – Jennifer Donnelly

Goucher College offers an optional study abroad experience to graduate students in the M.A. in Environmental Sustainability & Management (M.A.E.S.), M.A. in Cultural Sustainability (M.A.C.S.), and M.A. in Historic Preservation (M.A.H.P.) programs.


Why Do We Visit?

Nepal is a multiethnic and multicultural country, representing a fusion of Indo-Aryan and Tibeto-Mongolian culture.  Nepal is also rich in biodiversity and is situated where two geologic plates are colliding to form the majestic Himalayas.  Climate change is impacting Nepal through extreme weather, flooding, landslides, food shortages, and a rapidly changing ecosystem.  As a result, significant spiritual, cultural, and heritage sites are under threat.  The people and communities of Nepal are assessing and adapting in response to these changes.

What Is This ICA?

  • “ICA” stands for intensive course abroad
  • Counts as a 3-credit graduate elective course
  • Led by Goucher faculty
  • Designed for Goucher graduate students

When Is the Class?

  • Offered during the January break (J-Term)
  • Consists of pre-trip and post-trip work
  • Students are in Nepal for 2 weeks during January 2025

Where Do We Visit?

  • Patan (Kathmandu) is known for its rich cultural heritage and historical sites, while also striving to address sustainability and climate challenges in a rapidly growing urban environment.

  • Chitwan, the ancestral home of the Tharu people, is renowned for its commitment to wildlife conservation, notably with its protected Chitwan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Ghandruk is celebrated for its traditional Gurung culture and its efforts to preserve the natural beauty of the Annapurna region through sustainable tourism, while also actively engaging in sustainable forestry practices and climate change resilience measures.

  • Pokhara is recognized for its stunning natural scenery, particularly the serene Phewa Lake, and sustainability initiatives, which include sustainable tourism, forestry conservation, and climate adaptation and mitigation.

  • Baktapur (Kathmandu) is famous for preserving its ancient arts, religious temples, cultural traditions, and architectural masterpieces in the face of challenging natural processes like earthquakes and climate change.

  • Directors Amy Skillman, Melanie Lytle, and Jenn da Rosa visit Nepal Blue Mountain Organic Coffee Farm (Pokhara) to learn about sustainable coffee growing and harvesting.

  • Stunning views of the Annapurna foothills, glacially carved valleys, and agricultural terraces on the trek to Ghandruk village.

  • Boudhanath Stupa, a Buddist ceremonial burial mound, is one of the largest stupas in the world and a UNESCO Heritage Site.

  • Morning in Ghandruk village where Nepalese visitors dress in traditional Gurung clothing and photograph each other.

  • Phewa Lake in Pokhara is dotted with colorful boats which you can rent and row out to see a specatular view of the Himalayas.

  • To enter Chitwan National Park, a canoe ride across the Rapti River is necessary. The river is home to two types of crocodile.

  • Directors Melanie Lytle, Amy Skillman, and Jenn da Rosa visit the Gharial (crocodile) Conservation Breeding Center in Chitwan National Park.

  • Director Jenn da Rosa and guide, Narayan Kumar Shrestha, feeding rescued elephants in Sapana Village.

  • The International Mountain Museum in Pokhara explores the diverse cultures, complex geology, climate change threats, and mountaineering achievements in the Himalayas.

  • Directors Jenn da Rosa, Amy Skillman, and Melanie Lytle enjoy a warm cup of tea with the Tharu people while visiting their village and learning about their sustainable use of biogas for cooking.

  • Directors Jenn da Rosa, Amy Skillman, and Melanie Lytle enjoy coffee and conversation at Nepal Blue Mountain Organic Coffee Farm after a brief blessing ceremony.

  • Pashupatinath Temple Cremation Complex is a major cremation site in Kathmandu, Nepal, where Hindu cremation ceremonies take place along the Bagmati River.

  • A religious ceremony near a temple in Baktapur draws believers in a festival atmosphere to seek blessings for the coming year.

  • Krishna Mandir temple in Patan Durbur Square. The square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a former royal palace complex located in Bhaktapur, Nepal. Many temples are undergoing restoration from the 2015 earthquake.

  • A temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Early morning, when the locals come for chanting and praying, is the best time to visit.

  • Rice paddy terraces and fields outside of Pohkara.

  • A stunning view of the Annapurna Mountain range, part of the majestic Himalayas.

  • Directors Melanie Lytle, Amy Skillman, and Jenn da Rosa enjoy masala tea (chai) in Ghandruk village as the morning sunlight illuminates the Annapurna range.

  • View of the Annapurna Mountain range from Ghandruk village.  Annapurna is an infamous trekking region in Nepal with 13 peaks over 7,000 meters tall.


How Can You Participate?